Please tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is titled Spawn of the Cataclysm was published in March by Solstice Publishing. The cover blurb is “Humans carelessly wielded their power to create new things, a power that far outpaced their understanding. It was only a matter of time until something went terribly wrong. Something did. Technology has been erased for millenniums, monsters spawned at the end of a world infest the forests and seas, and a new civilization has slowly risen from the long darkness. In sight of the looming ruins of what was once called San Francisco there is an evil growing. The people of New Gate are about to face their greatest challenge.” I think that is a good introduction. It is more of an epic adventure than a post-apocalyptic book
What can we expect from you in the future?
I am working on a semi-autobiography about a teenager who gets into a lot of trouble in the early seventies. Most of what happens is real, but I have re-arranged some timelines, changed all the names and taken a few liberties to move the story along. It follows the path of a young man from being a pretty good kid to someone who gets into a lot of trouble.
How do we find out about you and your books?
You can learn more about me at these links: Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RHoppensteadtauthor/ Buy my books here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07R3CFZC9 or here at Solstice: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=436
You can also follow me on Twitter @RHoppensteadt
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
A lot, I draw on people I knew, emotions I have experienced and places I have been to make certain my characters are as authentic as I can make them.
When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
People have told me I should write for a long time. About 20 years ago I took a year out of my career to write a novel but it didn’t get very far. I had people to support so I went back to the corporate world where I was pretty successful. I wrote a lot of poetry over those years, some of that published. I was able to retire early and now I am writing full time.
Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I go with the flow, I am a night owl though and I often find myself writing until two or three in the morning.
What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?
My wife doesn’t interrupt me, but my two cats have absolutely no sense of propriety.
What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I live in a great historic and scenic area so I walk, I read, I go to movies, we travel, I do yoga a few times a week. Living in the DC area these days and there are a lot of very cool places to go, a lot of museums to see and most of them are free.
Where do your ideas come from?
I am not sure, sometimes I will see a story somewhere and run with a tangent, sometimes they pop into my head and won’t go away.
Do you feel humor is important in books and why?
If the story calls for it, some things aren’t very funny but even then scenes can contain humor as a way to ease tension and give the reader a break.
What kind of research do you do?
For my first novel, The Shelter, I did a lot. Average temperatures, sunrise and sunset, a lot of research on viruses, the CDC, the Alaska National Guard, Native Americans , Nome, local flora and fauna, everything necessary to be as true to the setting as I could be. Spawn of the Cataclysm required less as I was very familiar with the area where it takes place and most of the rest came from my imagination. I did borrow heavily on my knowledge of history to recreate the more primitive society that exists when this story takes place.
What do you think of critique groups in general?
I have been in some good ones and some bad ones. It really depends on the people you surround yourself with – do they do the work, are they empathetic and pay attention to detail, and are they good enough themselves to give valuable feedback if it is a writing group. I found it worked better for me in poetry where you could focus on the project and workshop it, and some of the people I had in that group have gone on to be successful poets.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully alive and still enjoying life.
How many books have you written, how many have been published?
I have written three books, one self-published long ago, two published by Solstice and one that was self-published many years ago that is now out of print..
After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?
I do but not for at least a few months, the editing process requires reading so many times I really don’t need to look at it. I do buy it just to see the finished product.
Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?
In The Shelter I did grow attached to Matt and Molly, the main protagonists. In Spawn of the Cataclysm I think my favorite is Tuk. He is not the main character but his ability to overcome fear hatred to find acceptance and a new family drives much of the narrative .
What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
Creating people and places tht don’t exist anywhere but in my imagination, and making everything real enough that others can experience them
If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
I have a lot of other interests I would be pursuing, probably focusing more on my hobbies. I like to collect things.
What is your greatest desire?
To live a happy and fulfilled life, to be of service to the people I love and care about, to have no regrets about things I wanted to do but never got around to.
Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Sure – just keep trying. I queried over one hundred agents and publishers before I found a home for The Shelter. There are something like eighteen million books out on Amazon, and agents and publishers in these days of electronic submissions can get dozens of queries a week. Do your best work, make sure what you send as a completed product is professional in its presentation and that you have done the absolute best you can with the story. Also, if you think writing is the hard part you will probably be wrong unless you are also a marketing genius and extrovert.